2019 Lyrebird Survey Results

Conditions were fortunately very good after a wild week of strong winds, rain and even a dusting of snow on the Wednesday. As a result  of the snow many fern fronds have been crushed down and were providing an obstacle along the walking tracks. The temperature was relatively mild and although you could hear the wind in the tree-tops it was not that strong. First Light was predicted at 6:52 am and the official sunrise time was 7:21.

We had 38 volunteers which was more the enough to cover all 16 monitoring locations. After meeting at 6.15 am everyone was briefed and out into the field by 6:40. Kookaburras were the first birds to start calling and were very active and noisy for quite a while. It seemed like quite a long wait until we heard our first Lyrebird at 6:58 am. Most volunteers had vacated their sites by around 7:15 am and people started filing into the Guest House for breakfast by about 7:25.

The results were collated this year during Google Earth.  The bottom of Lyrebird Ridge seemed to be quite active as well as the points around the suspension bridge and the Bulga Carpark. other sites were much quieter with only one or two calls heard.

Using our call triangulation method there ended up being a couple of anomalies with the results that made the certainty of the existence of a couple of birds 100% certain. (e.g  2 monitoring sites heard it calling but a closer one did not). Overall though we came up with a total of 9 birds calling for 2019 (which is one more than last year).

Lyrebird Survey Results updated 2019
Lyrebird Location Map 2019
Map of Lyrebird Survey Results 2019

Lyrebird Survey 2018 Results

Another great turnout of 34 volunteers for this year’s survey, our annual Lyrebird Survey is by far our most popular activity and once again we were able to cover all 16 monitoring sites.

Weather conditions were quite good, at 5.30am heading up to Balook there was a substantial amount of moonlight with a clear sky and some cold air, At Balook however it was darker because of cloud cover blocking the moonlight and there was a slight breeze in the treetops.

Our full crew of volunteers arrived in good time and by 6.30am everyone had arrived and signed in and by 6.45am everyone had been briefed on their tasks and had headed out in the dark to their assigned monitoring stations.

Once in position there ended up being quite an unexpectedly long wait until Lyrebird calls were first heard, only a couple of locations recorded birds calling before 7am; which was when the majority of the sites started hearing birds, the latest any group had to wait to record any calls was 7.10am.  Last year (2017) every site had birds calling by 6.55am.

The official sunrise time for Saturday June 2nd at Balook was 7.22am and first light was scheduled to appear at 6.52am which was almost identical to last year.

From our results we detected 8 birds calling in our search area, this figure was slightly down on recent years. It is hard to read too much into one years results but potentially the dry summer and autumn we have experience may be having an impact. Most birds appeared to be calling from forest areas with established Eucalyptus over-storey or rainforest. It would be great if some action can be taken to re-establish the original canopy species into areas of the park that have been degraded.

As usual we only count birds that are detected by at least 2 monitoring stations and some stations heard birds calling that were not in our survey area so are not included in the final tally.

Thanks again to AGL who generously supported the breakfast provided for the early rising volunteers.

Lyrebird Survey Results Summary Table 2010-2018

 

 

Year

 

Number of Males Calling

Monitoring

Points

Covered

(out of 16)

 

 

Weather Conditions

2010 4 9
2011 9 13 Windy making it hard to hear calls, especially in the more exposed sites.
2012 9 12 Still and Calm
2013 3 10 Wet, may have discouraged birds from calling. Several males sighted feeding but not calling.
2014 14 15 Perfect calm morning
2015 6 12 Windy
2016 9 15 Ideal – slight wind, relatively warm
2017 11 16 Ideal – slight wind, relatively warm
2018 8 16 A little overcast with a slight breeze.

Lyrebird Count 2018 150 dpi

2017 Lyrebird Survey Results

271A4102 copya
A bumper crew  for this years survey.

  • We had a fantastic turnout of volunteers, which meant that all 16 sites could be covered with at least 2 volunteers at each site. (This is the first time we have covered all 16 sites since at least 2010).
  • Weather conditions were ideal (2nd year running) with little or no wind to muffle the sound of calls and it was not really all that cold!
  • Everyone got out to their respective positions in time; the earliest call was heard at 6.49am and by 6.55am every monitoring station had Lyrebirds calling.
  • The official sunrise time for Saturday Jun 3rd at Balook was 7.23am and first light was scheduled to appear at 6.53am. So, it seems Lyrebirds are fairly well tuned to begin calling at first light.
  • From our results, we detected 11 male birds calling, (not sure if it would be possibly with our method to detect two birds calling in close proximity to each other, but a couple of stations noted the possibility that they could possibly hear multiple birds calling from around the same direction.
  • Note: we only count birds that are detected by at least 2 monitoring stations.
  • This is our second highest number of birds recorded since at least 2010.
  • Thanks to AGL who helped to pay for the breakfast.

 

  • Results Tablea

Summary of results for the last 8 years.

Lyrebird Count 2017 150dpi

2017 Lyrebird Survey

Don’t miss your chance to be involved with Friends of Tarra-Bulga National Park Annual Lyrebird Survey. This year it will be held on Saturday, June the 3rd. The meeting point for all volunteers is the park visitors centre at 6.15 am. The Survey takes only 30 minutes from the time the sun rises and the birds start calling, Straight after the count a free breakfast for all volunteers will be provided at the Lyrebird Cafe. To secure your place please email friendsoftarrabulga@gmail.com or call David on 0488035314 by Wednesday 31/5/2017

Lyrebird Survey 2017

2016 Lyrebird Survey Results

In the pre-dawn darkness on Saturday the 18th of June, twenty-five volunteers and one Park Ranger were greeted with perfectly calm conditions for Tarra-Bulga National Park’s Annual  Lyrebird Survey. Overnight showers had passed by leaving moist dripping foliage in their wake.

The survey is designed to monitor the density of Lyrebirds living in 60ha comprising of wet sclerophyll and cool temperate rainforest immediately to the east of the Tarra-Bulga National Park Visitors Centre. There are sixteen monitoring points strategically placed throughout the site and volunteers move to each site before adult male Lyrebirds start their morning calls at dawn. Volunteers then use a compass to record the direction and proximity of the Lyrebird calls. This year we had enough volunteers to cover all but one of the monitoring points.

2016 Lyrebird Survey
2016 Lyrebird Survey crew ready for action.

Following the survey, lines representing the direction of the calls are plotted onto a map, and triangulation is used to establish the spots where birds were calling from. This year the results indicate we had at least nine (male) Lyrebirds calling in our 60ha zone. This corresponds to a density of one adult male Lyrebird per 6.7 ha. You can also assume that there will be female lyrebirds and immature males or non-calling males within our target area. To account for this to get our overall population of Lyrebirds we multiply the number of calling males by a factor of 2.5. It is believed that male Lyrebirds do not begin to breed until they are around 6 or 7 years old.

Summary of Tarra-Bulga National Park Lyrebird Surveys

Summary of Tarra-Bulga National Park Lyrebird Surveys

2016 Survey Map
Map showing bearings taken from monitoring points and the estimated location of calling male Lyrebirds from the 2016 survey.

 

 

How our Lyrebird Count Operates

The Annual Lyrebird Survey at Tarra-Bulga National Park has been carried out for the last 20 years as a means of detecting any changes of the population of the birds, within an area of the park covering from around the visitors centre area to the rainforest gully at the headwaters of Macks Ck. Although Lyrebirds are not considered endangered, they are at risk from natural disasters such as bushfires, habitat decline and attack from foxes, feral animals and domestic cats and dogs. The annual survey contributes to long term data on the density of the local population and helps park management plan their future management actions.

Superb Lyrebird
Superb Lyrebird calling from a tree branch.

The Lyrebirds are counted not by attempting to spot them visually, but by listening out for their song. (Sometimes you may be lucky enough to see a bird but often they are out of sight perched in a tree canopy or in ferny understorey). The survey is undertaken during the Lyrebirds’ breeding season. At this time mature male Lyrebirds are all actively searching for females to mate with and it is during this time when they are reliably singing for much of the day. The survey is consistently undertaken at dawn (when the wind is often calmer and the Lyrebirds begin their morning calls, usually while perched up in a tree).

The count is carried out by distributing groups of volunteers across the survey area at

Pre Count Briefing
Volunteers gathering before the count.

established monitoring points. Each of these points is marked with a numbered sign so that they can be found in the pre-dawn light. As the sun rises and the Lyrebirds start singing their varied repertoire, the volunteers use a compass to establish the direction the calls are coming from and estimate the distance (close, medium or far) that the call is coming from. The survey lasts for approximately 30 minutes, after which the volunteers generally go off and enjoy breakfast at the aptly named Lyrebird Cafe.

Once the survey is completed survey sheets are collected and the direction the calls were coming from are plotted as lines onto a map, where lines coming from several surrounding monitoring points meet, we can be confident that it is a location where a male Lyrebird was calling from.

Lyrebird count 2015 results
Volunteers gathering before the count.

Lyrebird count compass bearings
Instructions on how to use a compass to find the direction the Lyrebird is calling from. 

 

Feral Cat with a Sugar Glider

Remote Camera Results Updated to include 2015

Overall total number of species sightings – all cameras

2012201320142015
Antechinus791068659
Bassian Thrush198198934719
Brown Gerygone0012
Brown Thornbill0305
Brush Bronzewing3215901356
Common Blackbird2716183145
Common Bronzewing0150
Common Brushtail Possum751305
Crimson Rosella782845
Cuckoo Fantailed0002
Dog0110
Eastern Whipbird3120143137
Eastern Yellow Robin341112
Echidna242463107
Fantail, Grey0300
Fantail, Rufous3370
Feral Cat24499599
Fox191323336140
Grey Currawong716237
Grey Shrike-Thrush3380
Human0010
Koala31411875
Kookaburra09417
Large Billed Scrubwren0002
Long Nosed Bandicoot287119270652
Lyrebird4869021809973
Magpie3000
Mountain Brushtail Possum181235243289
Olive Whistler715710
Pied Currawong36108
Pilotbird2150136217
Rabbit191583490
Rattus Species120213222189
Raven Species0140
Ring-tailed Possum7852967
Satin Bowerbird21835
Sugar Glider0410
Superb Fairy-wren35667
Swamp Wallaby74913821112677
Tawny Frogmouth0030
Wedge-tailed Eagle3000
White-browed Scrubwren8971264130
White Throated Tree-creeper0043
Wombat202234176130

Without any advanced statistical scrutiny strong trends include:Our remote camera monitoring has now reached four solid years of records. Although not a flawless scientifically planned project there are still be some interesting developments. The table above shows the total sightings of each species combined across all of the camera sites. There are many variables in these results, the main one being that cameras have been moved around different habitats at different times, so have not constantly been in the one place.

  • A massive rise in the number of Brush Bronzewings every year.
  • A rise in the number of other ground dwelling bird species including Bassian Thrushes, Pilotbirds, Eastern Whipbirds and Common Blackbirds.
  • An increase in the number of Long-nosed Bandicoots (although this may be explained by moving cameras to areas where habitat is more suitable).
  • Crimson Rosellas had a huge spike in numbers in 2014 (maybe because there was a lot of wattle seed on the ground?)
  • An upward trend in Echidna and Feral Cat numbers.
  • A drop in Fox numbers in 2015.
  • 2014 had double the amount of Lyrebird sightings than other years.

Several cameras have been left in the same spot for several years and it is possible to compare the results of these sites with the overall figures.

Site: Tarra Bulga – North East

Habitat: Mountain Ash forest with an open understorey consisting of scattered shrubs, ferns and grasses:

Species201320142015
Antechinus0233
Bassian Thrush36298209
Brown Gerygone010
Brush Bronzewing1121102
Common Blackbird510341
Common Bronzewing100
Eastern Whipbird47998
Eastern Yellow Robin012
Echidna5811
Fantail, Rufous100
Feral Cat3616
Fox406817
Grey Currawong100
Grey Shrike-Thrush110
Koala1102
Long Nosed Bandicoot38138
Lyrebird106145159
Mountain Brushtail Possum81016
Pied Currawong200
Pilotbird12311
Rabbit351114
Rattus Species104465
Ring-tailed Possum402
Satin Bowerbird210
Swamp Wallaby553017
White Throated Tree-creeper002
White-browed Scrubwren33924
Wombat275329

Site: West of Balook

Habitat – Forest with an open understorey, canopy consists of mature Silver Wattle.

Species201320142015
Bassian Thrush0726
Brown Thornbill001
Brush Bronzewing1045272
Common Blackbird651
Common Bronzewing040
Crimson Rosella01223
Eastern Whipbird106
Eastern Yellow Robin012
Echidna3102
Fantail, Rufous010
Feral Cat272217
Fox6411153
Grey Currawong351
Koala07930
Kookaburra1039
Long Nosed Bandicoot1703
Lyrebird237510116
Mountain Brushtail Possum46117
Olive Whistler001
Pied Currawong143
Pilotbird057
Rabbit602
Raven Species110
Rattus Species001
Satin Bowerbird002
Sugar Glider010
Superb Fairy-wren010
Swamp Wallaby955374179
Tawny Frogmouth020
White Throated Tree-creeper010
White-browed Scrubwren3183
Wombat541620

Comments: The open nature of this site means it is less suited to small mammals. Popular site for Swamp Wallabies to congregate. Openness also suits many ground feeding birds scratching around or eating fallen seeds. Foxes and cats often pass through. Has been a Koala habitually passing the camera every few days between its favourite trees.

Site: Balook Area

Habitat: Open forest with regenerating Mountain Ash, Ferny understorey with some thick scrubby patches near by.

Species201320142015
Antechinus059
Bassian Thrush9276222
Brush Bronzewing0101303
Common Blackbird03865
Cuckoo Fantailed001
Crimson Rosella0710
Dog010
Eastern Whipbird01913
Eastern Yellow Robin043
Echidna412
Feral Cat42917
Fox136385
Grey Currawong030
Grey Shrike-Thrush010
Koala032
Long Nosed Bandicoot6149168
Lyrebird12314545
Mountain Brushtail Possum957379
Olive Whistler044
Pied Currawong002
Pilotbird251117
Rabbit171445
Rattus Species117923
Ring-tailed Possum1901
Satin Bowerbird601
Superb Fairy-wren014
Swamp Wallaby136184151
White-browed Scrubwren01921
Wombat1082514

Comment: Good site for a diversity of species, some scrubby ground-cover in the area makes it a good spot for Bandicoots, with a high proportion of our Bandicoots sightings recorded here. Also good for introduced Common Blackbirds and Rabbits that like to hide in cover. Like other sites had a big spike in Crimson Rosella numbers in 2014. Interestingly large drop in Fox numbers.